Podcast: Hello, Liam Hendriks

The Chicago White Sox made a big splash in free agency, signing one of the best relievers in baseball with Liam Hendriks. How does Hendriks differ from Alex Colome? After this signing, where do the White Sox stack up in the American League? 

Even after the Hendriks signing, Josh and Jim don’t think the White Sox are done this offseason. Who could be next to join the South Siders? They took a look at the projected payroll and pitch ideas on possible targets who would be a good fit for the White Sox. 

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Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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Ken Rosenthal has quite a lot on the contract in today’s column. This passage interested me, just because I wonder if the Bulls’ front office talks with Hahn at all.

NBA deals include such provisions for salary-cap purposes, and Hendriks’ contract would include a luxury-tax benefit, a charge of zero in year four, assuming a luxury tax is even part of the next CBA. The current deal expires on Dec. 1; a new agreement might include higher thresholds, or introduce a new economic system entirely.

The White Sox are far enough away from the current thresholds that they did not worry about the $18 million hit in their luxury-tax payroll for each of Hendriks’ first three years. The structure of the deal enables them to bridge Hendriks’ desire for a fourth guaranteed year with their desire for protection, through deferred payments, if he is injured or ineffective entering that season.

The contract includes one other twist: The option will become guaranteed if Hendriks is traded at any point during the deal. The agreement, which is pending a physical, grants Hendriks complete no-trade protection in the first year, a 10-team no-trade list in the second and a five-team no-trade list in the third.

The most important Sox-related story in The Athletic today doesn’t have to do with Hendriks. James Fegan reports Moncada is feeling better.

the final week of the 2020 season was marked by a moment in Cleveland when Moncada was so out of breath after an impressive first-to-home sprint, that the coaching staff wondered if he would be ready for the next half-inning. Now, he says the specter of the virus is gone.“I took time to rest and feel better and I think that is what helped me to feel like I feel right now,” Moncada said. “I feel strong. The strength was something I didn’t feel during the last season.”

Last edited 1 year ago by asinwreck
Right Size Wrong Shape

Moncada at full strength is the best player on the team (especially if he can marry his old physical skills with the plate discipline he showed last year). This is great news.


Moncada is the linchpin for this team this season. If he can return healthy and firing on all cylinders, a lot of the woes against right-handed pitching will disappear.


How does the trade guarantee impact the luxury tax benefit? Would a team receiving him in a trade not get the benefit because it just becomes like a normal contract year?


A healthy Moncada is such a difference maker. I agree with RSWS that he is the best player on this team when healthy. Having him and Timmy in front of the big boppers just presents so many problems for opposing pitchers. Their combination of power, AVG, and speed is tremendous.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I disagree that if the Sox didn’t have Robert for a month that they’d “be in trouble”. I think the Sox are better equipped than almost any other team to absorb a loss like that. Engel is more than capable of handling it defensively, and lineup is as deep as anyone. How soon we forget JB Shuck. Honestly, I think the only player they really can’t afford to lose for an extended period currently is Grandal.


I’ll be thrilled if the Sox sign Cruz or Ozuna, but I’d still prefer Vaughn to other, cheaper options at DH (and, for the record, I was stumping for him to be up last Sept).

FG puts his present tools at 55 hit, 50 game power (or something like .270 avg, 15-18 hr). I’d expect initial struggles, but starting him early allows the Sox to evaluate him. If he’s a disaster, send him down and trade for one of those other, cheaper options before the deadline (or sign one of the FA holdouts that are sure to be available).


Especially when they are contenders now. I could see Vaughn being up with a bad club, but you can’t afford a hole in the DH slot for 3 months on a contending team.


To be clear, I’m suggesting this is what the Sox should do, not what they will do. They should have brought Jimenez and Robert up before they did, too. And it may be that, unlike with Jimenez & Robert, the WS truly don’t think he’s ready and, if so, fine.

Still, their cases are very different, for a few reasons:

  • ’21 is Vaughn’s age 23 season; Jimenez & Robert were 21 in those seasons.
  • Vaughn played 3 years of high-level college baseball and simply *mashed* there.
  • Vaughn lost a year to the pandemic, though presumably still did in improve in some ways that we can’t know or quantify.
  • Vaughn would only be DH-ing (and some minimal 1B).
  • The White Sox are, without qualification, contending and trying to win in ’21, unlike in ’18 and ’19.

I agree Vaughn is no guarantee, but ’20 showed us throwing a one-year deal at some veteran to come DH is no guarantee, either, and I prefer Vaughn to other internal options.

And, again, starting with Vaughn doesn’t commit the Sox to a full year of him. If he’s not ready, they can go find someone else in the bargain bin. But I’d like to avoid the bargain bin, if we can.


I’d also rather have Vaughn than someone in the bargain bin. But Cruz/Brantley/Rosario are not bargain bin players. They would immediately come in and hit somewhere in the top 6. That’s what they should do.


It doesn’t sound like they’re after Cruz or Brantley, but I’d be happy to be wrong. I’m defending Vaughn under the assumption that the Sox are not going to pay a DH for multiple years (and it sounds like Cruz and Brantley are going to command multiple years).

If they get Rosario on a one-year deal (something I’m not sure about), I’d probably slightly prefer him to Vaughn since he can cover some OF positions, too. But his last three years, his wRC+ have been 114, 103, 110. Not exactly inspiring from the DH spot, and I just think that, even if he struggles at first, Vaughn can exceed that this season. But I will grant you that Rosario’s ability to play some OF (though I’m not sure how well) does make him an attractive option for DH.

Other than Rosario, are there other one-year options you’d prefer to Vaughn?


The only other one that they could probably get for one year is Adam Duvall. I don’t think there’s anyone else that would be better than Vaughn. So yes, if they only want to go one year, than Vaughn would be better than anyone but Rosario, and maybe Duvall.


Great point about comparing the Sox not settling for Colome despite a great season to last winter not settling for McCann despite a great season. It’s an encouraging way to look at the front office.